1) I'm not putting down fanny packs. I actually like fanny packs as off-body carry devices and have used on in the last couple of weeks. I do have a couple of over the shoulder bags that I want to experiment with next week.
2) The scariest thing so far is the loss of mobility. I've said, "Get off the 'X'" a lot of times over the years. I've practiced moving and shooting for a long time…if I can just buy a couple of seconds on the bad guy's OODA loop, that's all I (hopefully) need.
But what if that option is removed?
The reason I'm in this fix is because my knee failed. What should have been an embarrassing and ouchie everybody has a good laugh fall ended up in emergency surgery and 3-4 months of rehab. The knee failed. My quad is now stitched back to my kneecap (and pieces of my kneecap had to be cut out!), and until it is fully healed, it will fail again. There is damn little I can do about that. Regardless of which angle of the circle I choose to move, as soon as I put a lot of stress on the knee the quads will rip loose. I have had this explained that as WE ARE NOT JOKING ABOUT THIS, MICHAEL! Yes, I can make myself blow though the pain, but yes, I will end up on the floor anyway.
So my strategy has to shift. Yes, I need to plan to move toward cover, but it's not going to be a sprint. I am not motion stable. I am currently using a Ka-Bar aluminum cane most of the time, which is a formidable weapon in its own right (and I've already started working with it). I have shifted to carrying at least one auto-opening knife. I need to be able to deliver force immediately, to figure out a way to buy that 2 seconds on the other guy's OODA loop.
3) The Zen of the Shoulder Holster. I've learned a ton about shoulder holsters in the last few weeks. First off, right now I am wearing a Ken Null SMZ shoulder holster. I've been wearing it for several days…it is the lightest, most comfortable shoulder holster I have EVER used. It is also the most irritating. The release involves pushing, twisting, holding your mouth in a certain position, and mumbling something from The Book of the Dead. It's quick when you get it. You're dead if you don't
It conceals under a pullover shirt…amazing!
Right now I am carrying a Ruger LCR in 9mm, the one that loads from moon clips. I believe the LCR will stand as one of the greatest small revolver ever made. The trigger pull is world class for a small frame revolver; my experience with 4 of them has been that they are fiercely accurate and easy to shoot. I believe the polymer frame soaks up some of the recoil. I have shot them in .38, .357, 9mm and I have one of the new .327s waiting at the FFL.
By way of comparison, I own S&W, Charter Arms and Taurus snubs. I have shot numerous Colts, Chiappa Rhinos, Rossis and some of the real exotics. The Ruger LCR is the best snub I've ever shot.
[BS WARNING: Ruger is currently a sponsor; at various time both Taurus and Charter have been on board. I have visited the Ruger, Colt, Taurus, Rossi and S&W factories]
Still, the LCR puts them all to shame. I had considered carrying the new .327 because:
1) I like the cartridge, hence,have a bunch laying around
2) Six shots instead of 5
However, my friend Bill Baker called me out on that. Bill is a fine instructor and shooter in his own right. He and I go back to high school together, and I once had a thing for his sister.
Bill asked quite legitimately why, as someone who has been a big proponent of 9mm revolvers, I'd choose a .327 over the moon-clipped 9mm. I think the words "full of dookey," or something of that nature, were mentioned. He noted that I had been a proponent of 9mm revolvers, largely because of ammunition compatibility and the ability to use moon clips. So, he asked, "What's changed?"
Answer…nothing. Hypnotized by new gun and a caliber I'm fond of. OTOH, I have both an LCR and a Charter Arms in 9mm, and I opted to carry the LCR with a few extra moon clips.
The Null SMZ is the equivalent of the pocket pistol I would normally toss in my pocket as soon as I put my pants on. For the first couple of weeks, when I was on 2 crutches, I opted for a very different shoulder holster option. As I have mentioned here and on the podcast, Robert Humelbaugh of Survival Sheath Systems is, I believe the absolute genius of the shoulder holster.
This is redundant, but a few years back I asked Robert of build what i might call a "bug out" system. It consisted of a shoulder holster for a 629 .44 Magnum snub (the one I have was built by Jim Stroh of Alpha Precision and was a gift from my father). I would carry 2 speedloaders and on the off-side a unique SSS design to carry 24 rounds in an elastic pouch, along with the knife of your choice.
The idea is that if you gotta fight a war, you could fight it with what you had on your person. I know we all echo Clint Smith and say the purpose of a handgun is to fight your way to your rifle…but what if you can't? For the first few days, there was no way I could get to the heavy hardware. Here's an example…there was one day my Sweetie spent the day at a match. I'd just started walking with both crutches, but I was as slow as molasses at McMurdo Station. And terrified of dropping the crutches.
With the SSS "bug out" set-up, I had fighting tools — a .44 Magnum, 36 extra rounds of ammo and a 4-inch Buck Knife — with me all the time, and I didn't have to wrestle my crutches to get to them. When my Sweetie loaded me into the work truck for a trip into town, I threw a shirt over my t-shirt and it concealed perfectly.
Right now Robert is working on 2 new shoulder holsters for me…One for a Glock G26 on the left, with a spare G17 mag and a Spyderco Yojimbo 2, Michael Janich designed, on the off-side. He's also doing a chest holster for the Gemini Custom 3-inch Wiley Clapp GP-100 .357. It is a wonderful gun, and I think it would make a great hiking companion (yes…I am being optimistic). I have one of the SSS chest holsters for my .44 Charter Arms Bulldog, which replaced my S&W 296. Unfortunately, I smacked the Bulldog against a barricade and snapped off the front sight, which was a pinned-in plastic unit. It's still at the gun doctor having a steel replacement fabricated.
Once again, talk to Robert if you need a shoulder holster for a specialty issue. He is wonderfully creative, and his work is 100% first class.
I have a solid working unit I've used with my 4-inch Ruger Redhawks, a leather vertical shoulder holster made by my dear friends at Ted Blocker. Blocker made my cowboy leather, and I've used it for many, many years. It's more of a hiking/backcountry holster and I've easily concealed it under a fleece vest. Until I trashed my knee, it was my bear season hiker. I expect to be using it more.
I feel like I/m just tarting to scratch the surface of shoulder holsters; I'll keep you guys involved as I keep learning.
BTW, something went bump in the night tonight…not a big deal…a wind came up and knocked down a tree branch. As if by magic, my LCP 9mm was in my hand…once you get a grip,so to speak, on the SMZ result, it is fast!